Honda Racing and Honda Indy car driver Graham Rahal will host Toronto native David Clarkson of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils at this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. Honda is the official vehicle of the National Hockey League, and Rahal is an avid professional hockey fan.
The two celebrity athletes will meet to promote awareness of their individual foundations, Kitchener Rangers’ “Clarky’s Kids” and the Graham Rahal Foundation. Both charities raise funds to help chronically ill children and their families.
David Clarkson played with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League from 2002 to 2005. During his tenure with the team, Clarkson spent countless hours supporting local community programs. He currently plays for the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, the team which finished its 2011-12 season as Stanley Cup finalists.
Clarkson remains a fixture in the Kitchener Rangers’ community after teaming up with the organization to start “Clarky's Kids,” a program that provides children from Grand River Hospital's POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario) Satellite Centre the opportunity to experience the excitement of a Kitchener Rangers game from the “Clarky's Kids” suite, and visit with players and coaches, in and out of the hospital. Additionally this program continues to raise funds that aid in the support of local families dealing with a child that has cancer. All monetary donations directly benefit the Pediatric Oncology Clinic at Grand River Hospital, as well as the Pediatric Oncology Financial Assistance Program (POFAP).
Honda Racing’s Graham Rahal competes in the INDYCAR series with Ganassi Racing in the #38 Service Central Honda Dallara. The Ohio native grew up attending races with his father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, and ultimately embarked on a racing career of his own. Graham’s victory in his 2008 IndyCar Series debut at St. Petersburg made him the youngest winner in the series history, and he enters this weekend’s race in Toronto ranked 10th in series points.
The Graham Rahal Foundation is dedicated to helping children with serious medical conditions, a cause that was significantly important to Graham’s former race-team owner and friend, the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman. Through various fundraising events and activities, the foundation helps both Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children’s Network, community camps that create opportunities for children and their families to reach beyond serious illness and discover joy, confidence and a new world of possibilities – always free of charge.
The Honda Indy Toronto takes place on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place, adjacent to Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto. The Honda Indy Toronto is among the most respected motorsports events in North America and features a week-long festival-like atmosphere that includes some of the fastest racing on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities.